Glastonbury Day 2: Lana Del Rey and Robert Plant
Glastonbury can be a cruel mistress, punishing us with her ever changing moods. This morning brought thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening. Now the sun is ablaze across the festival, and the pre-Metallica mood is incongruously mellow to the max.
"I'm so excited," Lana Del Rey tells the Pyramid Stage arena with the least excited expression since faces were invented. You really have to love her ironic sense of humour, like when she criticised a broadsheet journalist on Twitter recently for being "calculated". She wears an explosion of citrus colours in the blazing afternoon sun, but her voice is pure bruise-coloured twilight, the sultry purr of a film-noir femme fatale confined to Death Row after coolly murdering a string of hapless no-good lovers.
I love Del Rey's artful Stepford-wife fakery, all vintage Hollywood glamour and sultry lava-lamp nostalgia, but the limitations of her Instagram-fuzzy torch songs become all too plain in the broad-brush setting of a big festival. Playing more to her guitar-bloated power-ballad side than her more exotic cocktails of West Coast hip-hop and David Lynchian darkness, the tracks from her chart-topping new "Ultraviolence" album mostly sound like Chris Isaak's "Wicked Games" played at half speed. Plenty of woozy erotic langour, not enough love-drunk mystery.
Next on the Pyramid Stage is Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, providing a natural Arthurian figurehead for Glastonbury's mystical hippie heritage. Plant plays much the same Zeppelin-heavy set as his recent Parisian show (reviewed here), sandwiching a teasing turbo-blast of "Whole Lotta Love" between the rasping North African folk reels and desert-blues dervish whirls.
The Space Shifters might appear to be Plant's equivalent of the Mescaleros or Wings, but they feel more organically rooted in this Arcadian glade setting than anyone else on the Glastonbury bill. As a smartly chosen warm-up act for Saturday night, they make perfect sense. Young saplings like Jack White and Metallica are mere branches, but Plant is the mighty knotted oak that spawned them.
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